Your kids may seem lazy due to not picking up after themselves or preferring to watch television or surf the Internet for hours, but they are just being kids. House rules are an effective method of providing your children with guidance that will help them develop self-discipline and healthy habits. Routines give kids a sense of security and help them cope with the many other changes in their lives as they grow and mature. Giving children boundaries for relaxation and play and a time for work and chores provides them with structure and a sense of accomplishment.
1. Study Time
Set up a designated time for homework and study time. Make reading and learning, something he does every day, a part of your child's routine. Even if he does not have homework, this time should be spent looking up or reading about something he is interested in or practicing a math concept. Allow kids to have a short break after school and enjoy some leisure time to relax and unwind and have a snack. A good time for cracking the books open again is well before dinner, so that he is not hungry and thinking about food.
2. Healthy Snacking
Kids will reach for unhealthy packaged foods whenever possible. Processed snacks and junk food are full of added sugar, sodium, fats and artificial coloring and flavors. Inspire children to eat more healthy whole foods by example. Older children can spend a few minutes every day washing and arranging fruit and vegetables and mixing yogurt and cream cheese to make a healthy snack dip. Keep only healthy snacks in your kitchen, and teach older kids to make celery sticks or apple slices with peanut butter and raisins and other foods to munch on as part of their daily routine.
3. Tidying Up
Kids are known for leaving a mess in their wake with jackets, shoes, bags, toys, dirty dishes and books strewn about. Teach your child not to let messes pile up by cleaning up after himself and using the one-touch method. This means that as soon he comes home he hangs up his jacket in the closet where it belongs. If he puts it on a chair first, he will have to pick it up again, wasting time and energy. Teach him to make this a habit with all his belongings whenever possible. Similarly, remind kids to put dirty dishes in the sink, garbage in the trash can and recycling in the correct bin. Making tidying up easy for your child by organizing baskets, cupboards and hooks so that everything has a place.
4. Weekly Chores
Make a list of responsibilities your kids must meet around the house every day or week. Post a weekly list on the fridge or bulletin board and have kids tick off each chore as they do them. This can include watering plants, dusting bookshelves, sweeping the driveway or feeding the dog. To help motivate your child to do mundane chores, give him an egg timer that he can use to record how quickly he does his tasks and try to beat his time the following week.
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